Wednesday, January 26, 2011


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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Are we the best of choices?

Reflecting on church attendance while I lay on my couch getting IV antibiotics, and of course, ironically, missing church....
Maybe I was spoiled. I was raised in a Southern Baptist family that made Sunday morning church attendance mandatory. We had a fun youth group at University Baptist, and SS was usually tolerable, church maybe not so much but we knew we had to go, so we did. Like many, I used college to escape from such obligations, but getting married and having children brought me back.
Thank goodness my wife is an Episcopalian, and while the story of how we made it back to the Episcopal church is one for another time, I can say that we were spoiled. Why? Because at St. Peter's by the Lake we found a church that was just, well, awesome. As I learned what it meant to be an Episcopalian, I was fortunate to be formed by the founding Rector of that church, Arnold Bush, who showed me and my Baptist heart that Episcopal Priests (and people!) could be evangelists! And I was shown by his successor, Barry Cotter, that Episcopal Priests could be excellent preachers. But more than that, I was shown by a community of faith what it meant to be the body of Christ, people who cared and prayed and worshipped and partied and laughed and grieved and fed and showed up for each other.
I am not sure I can say when the change happened for us, but eventually Jennifer and I became those people who showed up every time the doors opened - but not ever out of some sense of obligation, or feeling that if we didn't "do this" no one else would, but rather simply because it was the best of choices for us and our kids. We chose church on Sunday mornings over soccer or tennis, we chose special services over the myriad of other options, we chose work days over sleeping in and we chose renewal weekends over parties and we chose great times on the reservoir party boat with other church folks over, well, over anything else. It wasn't just about God and the Spirit, it was about community. And it was about living into the idea that doing for others is actually not just rewarding but fun, and working "inside" the church was not just important but life-giving. Cursillo renewal helped me in that, I think, teaching me so much about joy and service and the Spirit, perhaps we need more of that. But all that just kind of evolved over time, looking back I can see it, but in the midst of it, it really felt like the best choice was not a choice at all, but something we were joyously led to by the Holy Spirit.

I want that for our folks. I want us to be the "best choice". Because the truth is, it is all about choices. Sometimes we are overwhelmed, bombarded by options, or fall into the trap of the "obvious because this is what everyone does" kind of choice. But in the end, a worshipping community of caring people, dedicated to serving Christ in others, I believe, is the "best choice".
It's not perfect every Sunday. We don't always hit it out of the park. That's because we are human. But in the end, the first step is choosing to show up and see where the Spirit leads - new ideas of ministry, ways to form our children in the faith (is there anything more important?), ancient prayers and wonderful sacraments and great music. Saying by our presence - this really IS the best choice, and I too will commit time and talent and treasure to make it so for all of us.
Are you looking for a place like that? If so, I hope we can grow into just that, together. For those already along for the ride - God bless you for helping us live into being the best choice.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slow Recovery

It seems like the only blog posts I make, and even those rarely, regard health issues for me or my family. But once again I am writing about such, but with a promise of more posts to come that won't be simply updates on our struggles.
Last week I had surgery again on my achilles tendon. I had developed an infection that did not respond to oral antibiotics, so had no choice but to go in, de-bride the wound, and start IV antibiotic treatments. Ended up spending 6 days in the hospital following some complications and waiting for cultures to grow so could determine the exact mix of treatments. We got home lat Sunday night and started the at home IV antibiotics Monday evening. Thanks be to God my LW is such a wonderful caretaker, and an RN, and I am in great hands. Pray for my recovery to be complete and soon, and please pray for Jennifer, who has suffered from her own nightmare of illness this past year and who also had double-knee scopes done right after Christmas, she is hobbling around here taking care of both of us and I am so grateful for her.
I am sentenced to home for at least another week, when I will get the cast off of my leg and find out what is next. I am bound and determined to just accept and obey whatever courses of action the docs decide for me, pushing this recovery did nothing but make things worse before this last operation. The church is rising up to take care of "bidness" in my physical absence and I have complete trust in our leadership to handle things well.
Meanwhile, with my sabbatical looming, 2011 is our year to get healthy! It is meet and right so to do. And now with time on my hands while recovering, look for much more frequent blog posts, about things more interesting than infections and surgeries.
Just keep praying - it does make a difference.